Military Times: VA scraps rollout schedule of controversial new electronic medical records project

“Veterans Affairs leaders are completely overhauling their training and deployment schedule for their controversial electronic medical records modernization project, acknowledging fundamental flaws in the work so far.”

“But VA Secretary Denis McDonough told lawmakers on Wednesday that he is not considering abandoning the $16-billion project to use the Cerner Millennium records platform, a 2017 decision made by then-President Donald Trump, who touted it as the solution to bring veteran and active-duty medical files into the same computer system for the first time.”

“’The mission of the [project] has always been to create a platform that seamlessly delivers the best access and outcomes for our vets and the best experience for our providers. VA’s first implementation of the records … did not live up to that promise, either for our veterans, or for our providers,’ McDonough told members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Wednesday.”

“’But by making changes, we can and we will get this effort back on track…'”

“Officials promised to address all open patient safety issues by the end of this month, before the project advances any further.”

“Less clear is the timeline for the rest of the project. Officials were supposed to deploy the new records system to the Columbus, Ohio, VA medical center this summer, with an eye towards having the entire department medical system using the new software in 2028.”

“Instead, VA officials are now planning a “technical-only” deployment of the Cerner technology in two of its regional service networks (the ones encompassing Spokane and Columbus) without any impact on patients or clinicians.”

“Officials will also abandon previous plans for a site-by-site scheduled deployment of the new system, instead evaluating individual facilities preparations and readiness before putting the new system in place. McDonough did not say when patients and staff should expect those moves…” Read the full article here.

Source: VA scraps rollout schedule of controversial new electronic medical records project – By Leo Shane III, July 14, 2021. Military Times.

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